by Miles Quitmann, CCO with Proxama
There has been a lot of discussion about the potential for Bluetooth beacon technology or iBeacons as Apple has branded it, particularly its use in retail. Given interesting roll outs by EasyJet, Virgin Atlantic and Major League Baseball, it is clear that Beacon technology is not limited to retail but has the potential to transcend these boundaries. ABI Research recently forecast that the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) device market would reach 60 million within the next five years. Coupled with these use cases it is clear that confidence in the technology is growing strong.
In the same report, however, ABI indicated that despite the potential that BLE has, retail would be the smallest market in terms of shipments.
In terms of revenue opportunities however, retail presents one of the largest markets to benefit from this technology.
The number of major global brands launching trials using Beacons is encouraging, but there remains a gap that needs to be addressed to convert these trials into long term programmes of activity.
To do this right, beacon technology needs to be managed well. For retailers, a good starting point would be to ask consumers questions about how often they would like to be reminded of special offers when they download an application, so that the content they receive is relevant and personal.
Using beacons as one component in the wider consumer journey will be a key way to educate, engage and build confidence.
This technology along with NFC and QR codes all act as powerful engagement tools when used in unison, complementing each other and more importantly enabling the consumer to actively make that choice.
This is how the industry will be able to establish trust in the technology, which will in turn, help brands transform the shopping and overall user experience.
Miles has successfully grown and sold two venture-backed technology businesses and achieved an MBO in a third. Miles joined Proxama in June 2011. In the late 1990s, Miles completed a record breaking sailing and mountaineering adventure from Brighton to Antarctica and back, completing the 14,000 mile return journey single-handed. Miles delivered lectures across the UK that applied his experiences to the corporate world. Miles is also a Director of Antarctic Heritage Limited.